Myths are produced by humans to answer some difficult questions and to explain some inexplicable events. On the one hand, they satisfy the need for wisdom that the mysteries of life provoke us and, on the other hand, they explain some natural events in connection with the human beings.
All explanations and answers are given in a fantastic way, as gods/goddesses and other mythological characters exceeding human abilities take part in those explanations.
The Basque Mythology gathers believes, mythical characters and legends since the main feature of the basque Mythology:
Its high antiquity
The Basque Mythology has its origin in the prehistoric times. Therefore, it shows the way humans perceived the world from their prehistoric point of view.
Its nature based on the land
Ama Lurra (the Mother Earth) is its most important goddess and Mari, her personification, is among all the mythological characters the principal one. According to the legends, the goddesses Egizki Amandrea and Ilargi Amandrea (the Grandmother Sun and the Grandmother Moon, respectively) are both Ama Lurra’s daughters and they live in her interior. Most of the dead spirits and of the mythological characters live underground, in her interior too.
Its female predominance
Women have the leading role in the Basque mythological universe. The most important gods/goddesses are women: Ama Lurra, Mari, Eguzki Amandrea and Ilargi Amandrea.
Its peaceful nature
In the Basque Mythology, there are, of course, wicked characters who frighten the people. Bat there are not any famous wars or battles in our legendes; nor among the mythological characters themselves, neither against the humans.
Its close-to-humans nature
The gods/goddesses and mythological characters have special gifts which humans to not have, but they admire. However, they hold relations with each other. These relations appear in many legends.
Its relation with Nature
The ancient Basques, like all primitive people, lived in harmony with Nature; they were part of that Nature and they worshipper it as a whole. They had an animistic point of view of Nature because they thought that all its elements have a soul and a life in their own. That is the origin of an old expression : Izena duenak izana du (What has a name, has a soul).
Mari, principal goddess and Ama Lurra’s personification, is the goddess of Nature and keeps the harmony in Nature. She produces all phenomena in Nature and represents the life cycle (birth-life and death).
Its oral transmission
The Basques have created a mythological world and have passed it on from generation to generation for thousands of years since those legends started to be imagined and told around the fire in the caves until they were told by the fireplace in the kitchens of the country houses just recently. This transmission has been made for thousands of years, orally and in our language, the Basque.
In order to understand the nature of the basque Mythology, first, we must explain what mythology and myth mean.